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Painting Sky

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Nobody ever said life was easy...

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don't always go as planned...

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate - another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend's older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane's life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith's past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants--even if it hurts everyone she loves.

*It's a Stand-alone*

306 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 25, 2016

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Rita Branches

3 books56 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
October 10, 2019

Just finished reading !
Gathering my thoughts for the review...
This book has such an intensity ...
The pace is feeling so real
#amazing *March 27th 2016

*March 29th 2016

I am still under the spell of “Painting Sky” by Rita Branches.

Not sure how else to call the fact that I was supposed to review two other books before this one according to my schedule – and it has been more than 48 hours since I read it – but still I find myself always going back to that book.

I mean I started writing on one of the other reviews but after one sentence I was suddenly forming my thoughts on this book and thinking – wow – wait a minute that was not the book I was supposed to write about. So I gave in and started with this review here now.

As I am the first one to review this book here I think it is my responsibility to not only give it the absolute best I can (which I usually do with all books I liked) but also to advise all other readers stumbling across this book to READ it …

YES – I got the book as an ARC but that does not corrupt my opinion – I have never heard about this author before receiving this book nor have I any personal contact with her or benefit from this in any way… It is just this book is amazing

The first thing that comes to my mind is a question …. And I think it is a fair one…

Is this really a debut novel ?...

Please someone has to enlighten me – if this is a pen name for another author or really a debut novel. Why ? you ask ? … well let me tell you that the intensity of this novel reaches that of a Colleen Hoover … and the depth that of a L.A. Fiore’s one.

If this is really a debut novel – I am just speechless – and I volunteer as first member of her fan club.

There might not be that typical Colleen twist that all her readers love – but still the intensity level is similar. And the depth ? wow… don’t even let me start on that.

I admit I loved the blurb the minute I read it – but there was this “boyfriend” issue I had a problem with. I extremely dislike love triangles where one of the leading characters gets cheated upon with the other. So now I am left with the problem of spoilers … Should I or should I not say anything about this. I know there are the pro and the con readers – so I am not sure.

Therefore I guess the best way is for me to say – Even having this extreme dislike I could totally work with this authors solution to this problem … Or if I rephrase it – I liked the way it worked out actually.

Jane/Sky is an interesting character and Keith is just great. Am I allowed to say “Every girl will want her own Keith after reading this ?”

– I admit – some things along the storyline were quite easy for me to figure out – but I was so involved in the emotional rollercoaster that is jane that I had no time to dwell on the fact that there were some obvious clichés involved. I was only when they came to light that I was like “yep – that’s what I thought”

It has been some time since I read a book that really had me envision all of the surroundings in so vivid details … - not sure what it was – maybe the fact that I have a “thing” for Attic’s (hence my blog name) but I saw that Attic right in front of my eye.

As for the supporting characters … interesting enough there weren’t that many. Sure there was the family but for such a “college” novel – there was a surprising little amount of friends – like practically zero. And somehow they were not missing at all.

Keith’s family was acting predictably (not meaning I agreed with any of what they were doing but still I figured them out quite easily) … It was Jane’s family that proved to be the really challenging one being full of contradictions (also not meaning I liked any of that shit going on there)… OK lets face it … I hated them both … for similar reasons but with the same intensity …

There is so much I would love to tell you – but my reviews rarely contain a recap of the story content in my review because if I like a book – I want it to enfold to the next reader like it did to me and if I recap everything – why bother reading it ?

.So do you trust me ?..

If you like an intense emotional journey that develops at a real and believable pace?. A book that has some cliché as well as rollercoaster moments and where you can feel the development of the feelings amongst the leading characters ? Are you willing to work with a plotline around a Girl and two brothers – where a triangle will be solved to a satisfactory solution?

Take a chance on this book… it will be worth it…
Profile Image for Anne Bollmann (Annelise Lestrange).
623 reviews72 followers
June 25, 2016
Review originally posted on The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange :)

I received this copy from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Let's go :D

The Story - Goodreads Blurb

Nobody ever said life was easy…

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don’t always go as planned…

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate – another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend’s older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane’s life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith’s past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants–even if it hurts everyone she loves.

The Analysis
Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as reader:)

I already knew I would love this book, but omg! I didn’t expect to like Jane so much, as I usually don’t like people-pleasers characters, but she grew so much!!❤ Seriously, this is that kind of book that makes you talk to it as you read – I was finishing it on the post office today and people wouldn’t stop staring at me, as I wouldn’t quit mumbling with my iPhone, haha! LOL Seriously, if you like New Adult Contemporary, READ THIS ONE!!!!

The narrative is first person styled and incredibly I loved it. I felt like Jane was talking to be and about me so many times! I felt connected even when I was mad about what was happening. Also, Branches writing style is a piece of art be itself, so full of sentiment and yet so straight forward! It was a nice surprise❤

The plot wasn’t anything out of the world, but was very well executed. Since the beginning I could tell how things would go, but this didn’t bothered me because I wanted to see Jane winning. I wanted to see her grow up, to try new things, to learn how to be brave without losing herself. And it was awesome! Oh, and the twists on the runway helped, haha!

Which leads us to the characters: I loved how Branches built their relationships and introduced to their personalities step by step. How she made us doubt Jane’s own opinions while inside her head. It was almost like the reader was Jane’s subconscious and this is so amazing! I’m still deciding if there will be any book boyfriends on this book and who I liked best – you see, I just finished the book this morning and I’m still digesting it:) I’ll let you guys know.

One thing that I really loved was to see how Jane dealt with changing, in an overall manner. I don’t know how Branches pulled this off so brilliantly and on such a candid manner!

Overall, if you like YA, romance and contemporary with beautiful writing and down to earth characters that could be your neighbors, you have to put your hands on a copy of Painting Sky!
Profile Image for Esther Haddie's Haven.
902 reviews56 followers
July 1, 2016
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I need a moment . . .

Rita's writing is so moving and brilliant. Her descriptions and writing are flawless. Keith was my favorite from the start, even though my heart was tugging towards Cody because I love plots that involve best friends turned lovers. Always have, but the moment Keith was introduced, I changed sides real quick.

When Sky (Jane) notices Keith's new tattoo, a small anchor on his finger, matching the one she has, I wanted to cry. So beautiful(visuals!!)! The fact that he loved her from the very beginning is beautiful. #Goals right there.
I don't know if the author has a dream cast, but since Keith was introduced I can only see one handsome fella.
Profile Image for Michelle .
2,016 reviews230 followers
April 28, 2016
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**


Painting Sky is a new adult contemporary romance standalone from Rita Branches. It is hard to believe that this is Rita's debut novel because she really captured the essence of the characters so vividly. I didn't initially know what to think of the story. On one hand, I was immediately drawn into the little bubble that seemed to be created around Keith and Jane every time they came in contact with each other. But on the other hand, I was hoping for something a little more drastic from his brother. I mean yes he was a jerk, but it didn't seem so clear cut to me. In the end, it didn't matter because I was completely, head-over-heels in love with Keith and Jane, who seems so much more like a Sky to me.

Painting Sky is told entirely from Sky's point of view, and while I loved watching her sort out her feelings for Keith and come into her own, I really really wanted to hear some snippets from Keith. He is such a deep individual, that I wanted to peak inside of his head so very badly. This book wrapped me up tight in their little bubble and whisked me away from the world. I very nearly was late coming back from lunch because I forgot all about the time. I had withdrawal symptoms when I had to tear myself away from the story. And even when I doing other things, my thoughts kept straying back to Keith and Sky. That is the mark of a great book. I love it when characters and their story can affect me like that.

The only gripe I had with the story was with the other character's opinion of Keith. I hated how everyone other than Sky seemed to think he was the worst person on the planet. Even Sky's brother, Ryan, who is supposed to be his best friend, thought he was no good. That really bothered me, because no one seemed actually interested in getting to know who he was as a person. I didn't see anything to justify the kind of treatment he was receiving from everyone. It was disappointing, and unsupported with facts from the story, that Keith was portrayed that way to everyone. Obviously, you can tell that I am a huge Keith fan. I loved the way he was always looking out for Sky. It was very sweet.

Bottom line: if you love tortured character driven romances that will rock your world to its' very core, read Painting Sky. This is a book that will deeply affect you. I want more from Keith. I loved Painting Sky so much.

P.S. I just found out that this is not a standalone and the next book will be about Sky's brother Ryan. I hope we get to see more of Keith in that story.

This review was originally posted on Book Briefs
Profile Image for Chels.
670 reviews102 followers
June 28, 2016
What I Loved

I know, I know, you don't see this genre in my reviews very often but when a book is this great I need to share! Especially a book in a genre that I don't normally like. That should tell you something right there. I'm not going to lie, this was a huge cover read for me. I mean look at that cover!! It's gorgeous and that's what initially hooked me in. I was also dying for a new adult romance book for whatever reason and I just so happened to get a request to review it. It was like fate!

I really didn't like Sky at first but her character development made a huge leap and I liked her a lot more after that. I thought that her interactions with Keith were kind of hilarious at times but also really sweet. I also adored Keith from the first scene we saw him in. I felt like I could relate to him a lot more because I'm also a painter and I just felt an immediate connection with him. I liked how we saw Sky struggle a lot in her classes and even in life because that made her feel like a real person. I liked it even more when Keith was around to help her out though.

The writing in this book is just plain gorgeous. I couldn't tell you why I loved it but it just sucked me from the moment I started reading. The writing just made me feel lighter even though there were some darker themes in this book.

Bonus points for being about art students! It's so much fun to be doing the same things your character does!

What I Didn't Like

My teeny, tiny complaint is that I found the little action scene at the end to be a little random. I felt like I was thrown into this situation and I didn't know what to feel about it. Other than that, it was really a great book.

Who I'd Recommend To

I'd recommend this to any YA fan looking to dive into some new adult books. This book makes an easy transition because it's not heavy on the things that make a book new adult. It has a sweet but tortured romance and shows you just how not perfect everyone really is.
Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews442 followers
May 13, 2016
I was drawn into this story immediately by the cover. It was just breathtaking and then, after reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. It was an emotional journey!

“I was never good enough. Not for my parents, not for my friends, not for my boyfriend, and, now, not even for Keith.”

Plain Jane, Skylar has always felt this way—not living up to everybody else’s expectations, including her own. She wasn’t popular enough, pretty enough, studying the right things, or fun enough. Her boyfriend of four years, Cody, was supposed to be the one to make her happy. But living in the same house with him for her first year of college only proved how much they had grown apart.

Luckily, her brother, Ryan and Cody’s brother and Ryan’s best friend, Keith, also lived in the same house. Keith was an artist and took Jane under his wing when she needed help with drawing classes.

“What would he think about his precious virgin girlfriend drawing his brother naked?”

But what started out as a weird friendship and a helping hand led to a journey of self-discovery and love…

This story was emotional; it was a story of true love. At times, Jane came off as immature and annoying, but seeing as she was only 18, I was able to overlook it and it didn’t detract from the story. I really liked Painting Sky, and especially enjoyed watching both Jane and Keith become comfortable in their own skin. I loved Matilda, Jane’s younger sister. I will definitely be reading more from this author! ~ Tiffany, 4 stars
Profile Image for Shannon.
384 reviews141 followers
April 29, 2016
3.5 Stars.

Let's start with first thing you see, the cover. The cover of this book is absolutely magnificent. Even before reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read Painting Sky. It's breathtaking, and after reading the book I appreciate it so much more. I think I sat for a few minutes and just found small details to ponder while I reflected back upon what I read. There's few covers that I come across that are truly perfect for the story it holds, but this is one of them.

“He had caught my fake reassurance in the dining room. Keith barely knew me, but, beyond all reason, he’d understood me better than my own brother and boyfriend.”

If you don't like cliches, this might not be the right book for you. No it wasn't riddled with them and no they weren't over the top, but enough to be noticeable. It also seemed like the farther you got in the story, the more there were. Some I could overlook fairly easily and were even a little cute, but there were a couple in particular that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at.

The writing style seems to be more simplistic than I'm generally used to reading. Shorter, simpler sentences, with not as many are combined to create as much of a punch. This seemed to slow the pacing a bit because of how you generally read the punctuation. A lot of times these sentences could've been expanded upon or edited. For sample, taking two or three of them and rewriting into one new, stronger sentence. I also noticed a lot of misplaced and extra commas. I'm generally bad in the first place for using an excess of commas, so maybe I just picked up on this easier since it's something I have to edit myself for. This could easily be fixed by another round through an editor. After finishing, my first thought was perhaps English is not is author's first language. Now let me start by saying this: it is not obvious or glaring. There were just a few times I noticed phrases worded slightly differently than how I might say them. Then I remembered a time where I've seen this type of phrasing before, and came up with the English as a second language idea. Turns out, that's correct. BUT! The English is still fantastic and strong, she has an exceptional grasp of the language and I'm sure her vocabulary is even better than mine, there's just a few small things here and there that I picked up on.

Even if the writing style didn't completely drag me in, the story line did. You know how when reading, sometimes you come across a book that is like your specific brand of drug? Painting Sky was my drug and I needed hit after hit. This was addictive! I didn't want to put it down and even when I did, the characters wouldn't stop running through my mind. Their story, their actions, reactions, nuances, what were the hiding, etc. All of the above was running through my mind on a constant loop until I could pick it up again. Even for days after finishing, I kept thinking about this story. The only reason it took me a few days to finish is because I went out of town and didn't have time to read. Otherwise this could've easily been a read in one day type of book.

“You heal all my scars. [...] You are my Sky.”

The climax and lead up to the climax were quite abrupt and a little rushed. There were a few small details throughout that were weaved together nicely, but these I figured out quite quickly. The extent of the climax though I didn't guess and I will say it was surprising. But, back to the abrupt. It both started and finished in one chapter and the resolution was then quite quick as well. I would've liked to see both dragged out a little, get some more emotion and detail in both of these important plot events. Either more detail in the actual climactic moment, a longer scene or more of a lead in and mystery earlier on in the story could've helped make this moment more powerful.

“Every moment between us felt like it could be the last, and we both wanted to frame each one in our brains.”

Thank goodness for some character development, because at one point I was about to throw something. The heroine had no backbone and not only could she not stand up for herself, but she didn't seem to think there was something wrong with how she was being treated. How about demand a little respect? I made a Goodreads status that quite literally said "Screw this! I would've dumped the boyfriend, moved out, changed schools and left with my middle finger in the air." I was so angry that Sky did nothing. But then little by little, Keith showed her how to stand up for herself. How to have opinions and a voice, to believe in yourself and others. This was fantastic and thankfully it happened cause I was losing respect for her big time. She grew a lot by the end.

Keith was a really intriguing character. Without spoiling, the ideals of his character have been done before - it's not necessarily original but was still really good. He confused me, he hurt me and he fixed it all just to start the cycle over. But then when we got glimpses of what's in his head, of his past and what haunts him? It all made such perfect sense. He was so broken and lost, with only one person ever being able to see it and fix him. His brokenness broke me, his hurt was heavy on my heart. I felt for him the entire time.

“Why are you drawing us? Why are you here, alone, drawing us?”
“Because it’s the only part of you I can get, okay?”

I relished the concept of freedom and how it was sought after by our characters. Freedom from your past, your present, your family, your choices, all of it. How to live your life to your specifications and no one else's, how to grasp what you want and never let go no matter what others think. How you can find freedom, not only in yourself and your situation but in another person as well. This might have very well been my favourite thing about the entire story.

I really enjoyed the amount of angst and tension. Without getting too far into it, the other emotions are great as well but it's best to discover them for yourself. The self hatred and loathing though was tough. I felt for Keith. I wanted to help but while reading I felt almost as lost as he did. It's absolutely unbearable how some others treated him so I'm glad he could chase his freedom with Sky, he deserved that and so much more.

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and you don’t even realize it,” he mumbled against my back, clinging to my body like a lifeboat.”

Almost every single scene with the majority of the family members angered me. Actually, more than that. Between the two families, Keith's and Sky's, and the multiple scenes with them present, I wanted to throw my iPad practically every time. There was so much hatred and judgement, I couldn't believe it. How could your family treat you that way? There is no occasion where any of this is right and it made me livid. I would've liked perhaps more of a conclusion with this issue, but I do understand that you can't always get what you want. While yes these secondary characters made me angry, you need to keep in mind they made me feel. Being angry is better than being indifferent, so kudos to Ms. Branches for a job well done in the emotional department.

I absolutely adored the art concept and how each of those scenes was portrayed. The imagery was extremely well done and I felt like I could see the painting or sketch come to life before my eyes (especially the mirror picture and the couple picture); I would love the see them in real life. The artwork in and of itself was extremely important to the story and I applaud how it was the focus and binding element of the novel, but it wasn't done in an aggressive manner. It was subtle and understated but important none the less. This is how Keith and Sky not only found the brokenness of themselves, but then how to heal and help each other grow.

“I turned to him and whispered back. “What secrets do you keep up here?”
He looked at my face, lingering on my lips. The tight feeling in my belly was back.
“My heart,” he whispered.”

After finishing Painting Sky, I both want and need to read more books from Rita. While it wasn't absolutely perfect in my eyes, it did have some strong suits and I'd definitely be interested in more from this author. I think she had a promising career ahead of her and as long as she can keep up these great concepts, she's got a fan in me!

*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cyndi Becker.
1,350 reviews9 followers
April 27, 2016
It’s been a while since I read a straight up young adult, college setting story. Rita Branches Painting Sky was a great read in way of my return to the genre. At the center of the story is Jane Skylar, but it’s her many evolving relationships that are explored. Jane’s circumstances plant her in a house with 3 boys/men; her overprotective brother Ryan, her wishy-washy boyfriend Cody, and her boyfriend's tragic brother Keith. The story has elements of betrayal, unrequited love, and a complex division between siblings.

While Jane and Keith are at the center, they show only the tip of the convoluted relationships. The family dynamics are intense which makes the story a little heavier than I expected. Jane’s brother Ryan and her boyfriend Cody are there, they drive activity in the plot, but the heart of the story is between her evolving relationship with Keith. The author does a great job drawing out some of the tension between Jane and both Hale brothers. It wasn’t very far into the story before I had some inklings to where things might be heading.

We are in Jane’s head the entire story and her maturity level is well portrayed. At times she’s indecisive and unsure of herself so seeing her grow throughout the story is great. The mystery is really with Keith and why he is the black sheep of the family. When all is revealed, it just made me more sad for him. My only complaint is that the push and pull between June and Keith is drawn out a bit. They seem to go through the same motions, through similar circumstances time and again. They bond through their common interest in art and Jane experiences some drama in the classroom that repeats itself. It does serve to show how stuck Jane is. As she tries to exert her independence her relationship with her parents and brother is tested and it does show how much she’s grown in the short time away from her hometown. She’s a likable character, as is Keith, which will only make you root for them. All in all, the story-line was well paced and made me interested to see where things might go.

3.5 Stars and recommendation in Young Adult genre.
Profile Image for Christine.
129 reviews8 followers
May 4, 2016
3.5 STARS!

Painting Sky is like a "everything is not what it seems" type of story. Jane is starting a new phase in her life; moving away from home, starting college and staying with a whole new set of roommates: her brother, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend's brother. One she loves. One she thought she loved. One she thought she hated. As she tries to adjust to a new lifestyle, everything changes and she doesn't know who or what to believe. She'll begin to doubt her own art skills and the people around her. When she truly discovers herself, it's the start of a new beautiful story.


PLOT LINE - The story will get you hooked from the beginning and you'll get to the ending before you know it! When Keith comes into the picture, you'll want him to keep coming back. Although the story is from Jane's prospective. Keith brings a little something extra to the plot because he influences Jane in different ways. Throughout the story, Jane will unravel different sides of herself, ones she never thought she had. Then, she'll look at the world through a different set of lens. Once she starts to understand her past and present, she can think about her future.

CHEMISTRY - Everything about Keith is intense! So, everything between Keith and Jane is bound to be just as intense. Sometimes you will feel like you're getting whiplash from Keith. One day, he'll be all angsty and broody. Another day, he'll be kind and understanding. You'll never know what to expect, which can be kind of exciting. There is one thing you will get from Keith and Jane's relationship. You need someone in your life who can help you discover new things about yourself. Sometimes, changes in your life are for the better.

Overall, I liked the book! I hope the author will write another book because there is still some unanswered questions. Once you get to the ending...you will see!

*ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review
125 reviews8 followers
April 27, 2016
i haven't read alot of new age material since reading fearless, but something about this book drew me in and i loved it.
after dealing with a absent boyfriend for most of the relationship in her first few months in moving there, sky found out exactly what her boyfriend was like. i wouldn't say i hated Cody probably just some of the way he is. too me he was too self absorbed for Jane, the same as her brother Ryan, Jane had the biggest heart i have ever read and to help Cody by not getting bashed by his brother and janes she didn't tell them the truth.

the angst in the build up over Keith and his sky gave me the goosebumps and tingles over it. i was so happy that they were together, the secrecy of it, i think my heart broke a little when Cody let sky know that he knew about it , and then the kidnapping part oh man sky she was so selfless

all up i loved this book, i think ill wrap the review up like that because im gunna tell the whole story if i dont stop
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Abby Wilder.
Author 5 books29 followers
June 14, 2016
Definitely going on my recommendations! Came for the cover, stayed for the story.

Painting Sky is a beautifully written romance story in the New Adult genre. It is told from the perspective of the main character, Jane. Jane is moving out of her family home to attend college where is she studying art. She moves into a house with her boyfriend, Cody, her brother, Ryan, and Cody’s older brother, Keith. Romance ensues. The story is compelling, and although it follows a somewhat traditional romantic plot, it manages to come off as unique.

You should read it now!
Profile Image for Sara.
1,395 reviews167 followers
April 26, 2017
Wow! What to say? Painting Sky is beautiful journey of growing up, feeling out of place and finding home in the most unexpected of places.

The story starts with Jane driving away from home with her boyfriend of four years. She is moving in with her older brother, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s older brother and starting college. The four of them have known each other for years, but shortly after moving in, she realizes things aren’t the way they used to be. She struggles to fit in, her efforts at independence are squashed at every turn by her brother and her boyfriend, but they have lives outside of the house, so why can’t she? The only one who treats her like an adult is her boyfriend’s brother, Keith, and she hates him. The rest of the story is Jane’s journey of self-discovery and figuring out that what you once thought you needed isn’t what you needed at all. Sometimes, what you need is the one thing you never wanted.

The Good: A wonderful enemies to lovers, coming of age romance. A heroine who comes into her own, is believable and makes mistakes without being over the top. A hero you can’t help but love. I sweet HEA that will leave you satisfied.

The Not So Good: The writing starts off a little shaky, but gains momentum and improves by the end. There is a twist towards the end of the book that was a little clichéd and kind of out of the blue, but it doesn’t distract from the overall message of the book.

My recommendation: A definite add to your TBR and your book collection. Follow this author. This is her debut effort, but I see great things to come for her.
Profile Image for Mikky.
763 reviews172 followers
August 9, 2016
Originally posted at:

I adored this book. I also binge read it. I went to sleep at 3 in the morning and felt like a zombie the whole next day, but I was proud because I managed to finish this book. The story got me so emotionally involved that by the end of it all I wanted everyone who was against Jane (AKA Sky) and Keith together to just drop dead where they stood.

I loved Jane as a character. Even though in the synopsis and in the book, it describes her as a "people pleaser", she doesn't really get stepped on. She deals with confrontation differently and sometimes head on, which was refreshing to see/read about. I really liked how her and Keith's relationship was carried throughout the book. I also enjoyed how the author treated her break up with Cody because it's not something I've seen in the recent books I've read. My one problem with her was that she seemed to think that being a virgin and not wanting to sleep with her boyfriend (at the time) would somehow drive him away. It was almost like she was equating her doing the deed with him to her worth as a human being. My logic: Sleeping with someone will not make them any less likely to break it off with you or go find 'it' with someone else, so why almost force yourself to do it in the first place?

Keith was very hard headed and very hot and cold to Jane until the very end. I hated when he'd act out and mistreat Jane for no apparent reason, but then the author just had to put in a few oh so sweet moments and I'd start to like him again. Overall, he did end up winning me over, but I do hope he changes somewhat over the next few books (which will feature different characters from this story).

The one thing that ticked me off in this whole book (but really added to the story) was the prejudiced parents/families of both main characters. If someone has gotten their life together, but is pierced and tattooed (in their families eyes) they must be punks and will eventually end up in jail, even though they've never committed a crime after they moved out and got into college. I just hated that stereotype.

The parents went so far as to be openly rude or snide about it all and no one (except Jane) did anything about it or call anyone on it. I personally find tattoos beautiful and would never even dream about reacting like the grown adults acted toward Keith. Being judgemental towards someone for simply having permanent body art is just causing us as a society to retrocess back into medieval times and it's ridiculous. What someone does or doesn't do to their body is their problem (unless it's detrimental to their health because that's a whole other discussion to be had) and neither you or I get to have any say on it.

After that mini rant, I'd like to conclude by saying how amazing this novel was and that I can't wait for Ryan's book to be released. Considering this is this authors debut novel the writing was incredible and the pacing in this novel was on point. I wonder what I can expect from her in future books.

Favorite Quotes:

"Growing up is exactly that: feeling like life is going at full speed without being able to grasp the essentiality of it as you leave pieces of yourself scattered along the way."

"I wasn't a porcelain doll who didn't know what was good for myself; I knew how to defend myself, and I did not need anyone to get in my face and dictate who I should or shouldn't befriend."

"You made me realize I have a place in the world, and that I'm not just an embellishment for everyone to toss around and show off. You made me realize I have flaws and other qualities beyond the good girl - the people-pleaser. You see me."
Profile Image for Poulami.
336 reviews39 followers
July 28, 2016
Originally posted on Daydreaming Books.

*I received a digital copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*

First of all, the cover is what drew me to the book in the first place. It's so freaking beautiful guys! And it kind of holds an appropriate meaning for the book as well. Painting Sky was a good read, though I expected a little more from it but I was satisfied in the end.

Jane or Sky as Keith calls her, has been the one who has abide by the rules all her life. She comes to stay with her boyfriend Cody who shares the house with his brother Keith along with her own brother as well. She has never gotten along with Keith but this time something seems different, but Cody has always been the one for her yet she finds uncomfortable crossing the intimate level with him and she also notices that he's not the same anymore. After the devastating breakup happens, she finds herself turning to Keith for comfort. It's not long before she finds herself falling for the wrong brother but she knows he'll end up destroying her.

The plot was nothing new but I definitely enjoyed the way it was executed in this book. Though I have to admit the first half of this book felt draggy as practically nothing was happening but the story picked up its speed from the second half and I really liked it. Sky has always been the good girl but she's finally rebels by choosing art as her subject in college, the subject that she wanted to study. She's doing okay in every class except one and Keith being an art student offers his help. I liked the friendship between them, though it can't be exactly called that because the tension was palpable from the beginning but I definitely liked how Keith helped Sky. Those were some pretty amazing moments and I loved the chemistry between them. The scenes in the art classroom was pretty humorous and I really enjoyed them!

I liked Sky, though I think she was an okay protagonist, I would have liked to see more layers of her. Nonetheless, Keith was quite mysterious and I liked him from the beginning. I loved it so much when Sky really began understanding Keith. I felt so freaking bad about him,not even his mother cared about him, Cody was their golden boy. I wish Sky would have told what Cody did to both the families when she went to visit on the holidays. They were unessential cruel to him. Although this book ended in a positive note, I would have liked to see the feud end for Keith and his family accepting him. I was quite shocked to see Ryan, Sky's brother's reaction at the end, I don't know how he could do that to Keith considering he is his best friend. I hope we get to know more about this in the next book which is about Ryan.

Overall, Painting Sky was a good read! Although the plot was predictable, I liked how it spanned out. The characters were interesting and I loved the romance between Keith and Sky. The writing was smooth and easy to read. I definitely hope to read more works of this author in the future,

Recommend it?


Profile Image for Jessica.
139 reviews17 followers
April 14, 2016
Words... I got nothing because this book left me with so many feels that I don't know if I will ever recover!! I've never been so angry to have to live my life. All I wanted to do was consume this book!

Jane Skyler is starting a new chapter of her life and moving into a house with her brother, boyfriend of 4 years and his brother who hates her. Her family which means the world to her don't support her in pursuing an art degree and are waiting to see her fail. She struggles with her classes, her drawing, her boyfriend and everything in between. Keith has always been the brooding bad boy that everyone hated but lusted after. As Jane struggles to find her place, the last person she expected to actually be there for her and find her home is her boyfriends brother. Unfortunately they have everything standing against them.

Keith is the book boyfriend of all book boyfriends. Let's be honest here. I want to marry him RIGHT NOW!

1. Hot as hell
2. Tattoos
3. A painter (being painted nude never sounded so appealing until now)
4. Sweet as pie and oh so caring
5. Protective
6. Messy hair
7. Brooding

Ok lets get back to PG... This freaking book had my feels all over the freaking place. This review is seriously a freaking struggle because I feel like my heart just wants to pour out all this stuff but can't make complete sentences. All I want to do is talk about every single detail but hello spoilers! I need to convince you to read it NOW not just tell you the whole stinking thing!

Now a moment of honesty. I never like Cody. I wanted to smack Sky around and be like "open your eyes and look at what this fool is doing!" I also wanted to punch him in the face for being such an arse. I didn't believe half the crap he said.

Can we go back to talking about Keith now? I swear my soul was hurting for him. The more we learned about him, the more it ripped me apart. No wonder the dude came off as cold and dark. UGH THERE'S SO MUCH I WANT TO SAY!!!!!!!!

Ok guys, I can't handle this anymore. Please go read this book and then come back so that we can talk about this because its just wow. Rita Branches ... My dear you just made my favorites list. Bless your heart for this masterpiece!
Profile Image for Stormy.
485 reviews70 followers
May 13, 2016
My rating isn't anything like I thought it would be when I started reading. The writing wasn't without flaws and me, looking for something to wake me up out of my reading fog, pinpointed every one. I was battling myself with all the disappointment in the protagonist and wonky, misplaced phrases and the potential I saw underneath. I really wanted it to be worth my time. So I didn't giveup when I really wanted to. I was already hooked. I think I owe it all to Keith. Even though he was not giving off the best first impression and his words were what threw me off the most in the beginning.
She goes down stairs her first morning in the house and bumps into him, knocking milk all over herself. She's wearing sleep shorts and a tank. No frilly patterns or anything mentioned. Keith snaps at her that she should put some clothes on. That's not what gets me. That's normal in NA to play up sexual tension. What completely baffled me was him tacking on that she "seems ridiculously childish". Uncalled for. It made no sense, that sentence.
I was not feeling it, but after that, little things he did caught my interest. He was mysterious and a puzzle I wanted to unravel.

Her "boyfriend" Cody was a joke. I didn't like him being in the story at all. It was easy to see from the beginning what would happen, but it takes SO LONG. That whole relationship was miserable and another reason I didn't enjoy the story at first.

When Jane got as sick of being Jane as I was reading about her, that was when I started getting more interested. Jane was a mess tied together with a pretty bow. When she unraveled, she was relatable and she stopped giving a shit. Her freedom from being Jane was my freedom. I knew then I could finish this story and actually enjoy it. It didn't completely stop my frustration with her though. She still let too many people control her and held silent and passive when I wanted her to let them have it. Something she overcame in the end, thank god. She truly became Sky.

If anything was done right, it was the chemistry between Sky and Keith. I felt it and that's what I wanted the most out of it all.

A little bummed that there had to be the crazy, psychopath at the end and all that drama. I was hoping for something normal without all the bizarre crazy.
Profile Image for Key R..
46 reviews6 followers
June 22, 2016
2 Stars

I feel extremely bad for saying this but I did not enjoy this book at all. I really don’t want to bash this book, because it wasn’t so awful that I wanted to throw it out the window and run over it with my Chevy Cobalt , it just wasn’t for me. Judging by other reviews, I see that everyone else loved it. Maybe it’s me. I didn’t feel a strong emotional impact with this, or even a tiny bit of connection to these characters.

At the beginning, it was okay, but the longer it went on the more I started to dislike it. It had so many clichés. That would have been okay if I had been expecting it. The plot was very predictable, and I spent most of the time confused about character decisions.

While reading, I felt like several scenes were missing which would have made the story flow better. It seemed to jump around.

Also, the climax at the end was very crazy and felt a little much. I feel like the author should have went a different direction or left it out.


I’m very indifferent about Jane. Did I like her or hate her? I don’t know. She could be a little immature, but it happens. She’s a growing girl. I know for a fact that I didn’t like her with Cody.
I’m a little confused about the how’s of their relationship before they started college. I didn’t really feel a connection with him.

It was a tad bit frustrating that everyone treated Jane like a child. I felt as if her family still thought she was 12 instead of 18.

I did enjoyed Jane’s relationship with her little sister, Matilda. I wish that had been showcased more throughout the novel. Also, Jane and Keith were a good couple. They bought out good qualities in each other. But I must say that I wish Keith would have called Jane by her real name.

Final Analysis

Although it has a pretty cover, Painting Sky was full of clichés and confusing characters that left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. The summary sounded interesting, but the interesting aspect isn’t transported on the page well. However, the author does a nice job of incorporating art into the plot.

Received a free copy for an honest review from YA Bound booktours
Profile Image for Saptarshi.
69 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2016
***I received a review copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours in return for my honest review***

I started out with this book by only reading a small sample from Amazon, but just by reading those few chapters I was hooked to this story and fell in love with it! This is not only a great contemporary romance story but also a great coming of age story in a sense. We start out by seeing Jane, the main character, leaving the shelter of her home and starting her college journey. And as the story progresses, you can really see how much Jane grows and becomes her own person, takes control of her life like she never had before, and really discovers who she is. But that's only part of the awesomeness that is this story.

Besides seeing Jane grow into her own person, I loved the whole romantic aspect. As cliché as it is, I have always loved the mysterious bad boy who actually turns out to be a very sweet, caring person with a vulnerable side. And it worked perfectly in this story. Not only was Jane a perfect match for Keith, but Keith also brought out the best in Jane. He helped her discover her true self and stand up for herself and her choices. They brought out the best in each other. The romance and chemistry between them was just perfect, and it was very clear from the beginning that they both cared about each other even though it took them a while to realize it.

Overall the story was pretty good and I enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that bothered me a little was the climax near the end. It felt kind of disconnected from the rest of the story and did not really seem to "fit" in that specific scene. It felt like it would have made more sense, or would have added more to Jane's and Keith's relationship had that scene occurred earlier in the story. But like I said, overall this book was really good so if you are looking for a new contemporary romance story to read, I would definitely recommend picking up this book!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
602 reviews12 followers
May 15, 2016
Reviewed on Behalf of Give Me Books

I was drawn into this story immediately by the cover. It was just breathtaking and then, after reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. It was an emotional journey!

“I was never good enough. Not for my parents, not for my friends, not for my boyfriend, and, now, not even for Keith.”

Plain Jane, Skylar has always felt this way—not living up to everybody else’s expectations, including her own. She wasn’t popular enough, pretty enough, studying the right things, or fun enough. Her boyfriend of four years, Cody, was supposed to be the one to make her happy. But living in the same house with him for her first year of college only proved how much they had grown apart.

Luckily, her brother, Ryan and Cody’s brother and Ryan’s best friend, Keith, also lived in the same house. Keith was an artist and took Jane under his wing when she needed help with drawing classes.

“What would he think about his precious virgin girlfriend drawing his brother naked?”

But what started out as a weird friendship and a helping hand led to a journey of self-discovery and love…

This story was emotional; it was a story of true love. At times, Jane came off as immature and annoying, but seeing as she was only 18, I was able to overlook it and it didn’t detract from the story. I really liked Painting Sky, and especially enjoyed watching both Jane and Keith become comfortable in their own skin. I loved Matilda, Jane’s younger sister. I will definitely be reading more from this author! (4 stars)
Profile Image for Dana Păduraru.
54 reviews
July 13, 2016
I don't really read YA or contemporary or stuff. And I choose books from giveaways based on their title and cover, hoping for the best.
This one here, has both an interesting title and a beautifully made cover - I really appreciate it. As for the title, when I realized what it meant IT FELT SO GOOD THANK YOU FOR THAT IT'S REALLY COOL

The story got me. Well planned, not that predictable as I would expect from stories with teenagers, it has intensity, real-life moments that you can relate to. I love the fact that Skylar truly develops along the story.
Keith was so cool?? I have to tell you that I haven't read the whole description of the book so that it would be a whole surprise. Still, from the beginning I was like ' yeah she's going to love this man ' (cuz I liked him too haha) but how all of this happened really surprised me and it was lovely.

As for the style, I loved some phrases there, for example remarks between Keith and Jane or Jane and Ryan, they made me smile or actually laugh. What I would suggest is replacing some of the "nodded", "shrugged" or "groaned" words that are in the book kinda often with others! I really appreciate that the feelings and the looks in their eyes are explained and described well - it is something really important to me.

All in all, I really liked this book and because of it I think I'm going to try more books from this genre. Keep up the beautiful work and thank you for the giveaway!

Profile Image for naz.
375 reviews382 followers
November 20, 2017
This gave me surprisingly soo many feels that I can't even process all of them.
I'm glad I came across this cute, sexy and emotional read.. just exactly the break I needed from my much annoying assignments!

Keith should have his own book, would love to read more about him:)
Profile Image for Elena ( The Queen Reads ).
797 reviews22 followers
July 24, 2016
Recieved copy as a part of blog tour by YA Bound Book Tours. Thank you!

I love it! I love Keith and Sky and their decisions as stupid some may be but I love the chemistry and all the little things that make me feel giddy. Review to come in the blog.
Profile Image for Maria Joâo.
1 review
June 10, 2016
Intense. It seems Rita Branches had passed for this "tormentous" feelings.
We must wait for the second ... Congratulations .
January 8, 2020
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56 reviews
December 9, 2017
What a great book! My heart seriously went out to Jane and Keith. Two lost souls trying to find their way in the world. I definitely enjoyed reading their story!
Profile Image for Amy Rehbein .
151 reviews30 followers
April 27, 2016
At the moment I am really interested in self publishing and self published authors as I feel that a lot of work goes into it and I admire those that do it. So, when the opportunity arose for me to read a debut YA novel by self published author Rita Branches and take part in the blog tour I really couldn't say no! Painting Sky sounded like just the book I'd enjoy reading and I was really excited to get stuck in.

Painting Sky is the story of Jane 'Sky' Skylar who is starting a new life at college studying for her art degree as well as living with her boyfriend, his brother and her older brother. All Jane wants is to please people and enjoy the bliss of studying something she loves and live with her boyfriend. However, things don't go at all to her plan. Struggling at college, Jane finds herself confiding in her boyfriend's brother, Keith Hale, an older, talented art student. After a harsh break up with her boyfriend Jane finds herself drawn to Keith, and when his past comes back to haunt him Jane must do whatever she can to fight for what she wants.

I'm just going to come right out and say it...I LOVED this book. I honestly think it's up there as one of my favourite YA novels of all time. The plot throughout had me hooked so much that I didn't want to put it down, and I literally had to force myself to stop reading. I became so emotionally invested in Jane and her story that I started to imagine myself being in her shoes, which hasn't happened to me for a long time. I was crying, I was laughing and at times I was worrying about characters, even though, yes they were fictional. Rita's style of writing is so vivid that you can just close your eyes and imagine you are there.

I loved the character development of Jane throughout the story, she went from being unsure about her life, to being 100% sure of what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be. I found her to be determined, strong willed and willing to do whatever it took to finally be happy with herself. In every story there is going to be a character that you hate and with me it was Jane's boyfriend, Cody. I just found him to be vile! I hated how he was making Jane feel guilty about not sleeping with him and trying to force her into it. I also loathed the reason they broke up, which was entirely his fault. On the other hand, there is also a character that you love with every book you read and in this case it was Keith Hale. I think I may have found my new book boyfriend in him. I just loved his bad boy image, and when I found out what was underneath all of his bravado it just made me love him even more. I could describe him as an emotionally tortured soul that just needed saving and I think Jane did save him and made him a better person.

Painting Sky was an outstanding read. I literally loved everything about it. It will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that you will never want to get off. It has emotion, it has meaning and it has great life lessons plastered throughout. It is hard to believe that this is a debut, as just by reading it I would assume that Rita Branches had written several more, before writing this. You all need to read this. You will certainly not be disappointed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nina ✿ Looseleaf Reviews ✿.
143 reviews55 followers
September 10, 2016
I have a weakness for stories about art students, so let me tell you, this book had me hooked!

Painting Sky by Rita Branches follows Jane "Skylar" Keaton in her first year of college. She seems to be walking into an awesome freshman year: not only did her parents give her a chance to prove herself as an art major, but she's allowed to move into a house with her boyfriend and brother. What she doesn't expect is for this arrangement to push her farther away from the two boys she loves--and closer to their loner roommate/her boyfriend's brother, Keith.

I'd be lying if I said that this wasn't a formulaic romance novel, but it's one that Branches executed to a T. She found that happy middle ground where the romance was neither too drawn out nor too fast. Without going into spoilers, she also made a clean transition out of Jane's first relationship without making her main character out to be a terrible person.

Jane is a cool narrator. She's a little spineless to begin with, but much of the story is about fixing that problem and her learning to stand up for herself in her personal life and in her art. At times she felt a little too average, but sometimes she was spontaneous enough to keep me on my toes, and though she faces a lot of hard choices, I never found myself disagreeing with the calls she made.

Now Keith--oh my, Keith! He's a hot, broody bad-boy without romanticizing being a jerk. In fact, what draws our couple together is finding the kindness in each other when the people they trust the most let them down in times of need. I mean, c'mon, he's a painter! How could this edgy tatted "punk" not be a total softie inside?

I also need to take a second to talk about the art element (because I'm art trash tbh) that makes this book so unique. Sometimes it was reflective of character growth, sometimes it was comedic, and sometimes it was sexy as hell. Having it as a central element gave a rich layer to an already solid story and cast of characters.

I was 110% into this romance so much that I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it in one sitting. The only thing keeping this at 4 stars is the "twist" at the end, which read like another book entirely. Either it needed to be more prominent in the whole story (which I think would have ruined the vibe that I loved) or it could have been replaced with a less crazy event .

I loved the ending, though. It's that kind where everything technically works out but not in the way you'd expect. I love unsettling endings like that, but it also left me begging for a sequel!
Profile Image for Amy Shelton.
427 reviews10 followers
May 2, 2016
*I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Reads in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

Wow. This book blew me away. It left me speechless, which is hard to do if you know me. It was absolutely a beautifully written story that deserves to be read and shared by all avid readers. Once I finished the story I found myself googling and searching to find more books to read by this author, but I was saddened but excited to find this is her first story. I definitely think there are great things to come from this author.
This story is pretty raw and uncut. The characters are real and have flaws. They have tragedy in their past and they have families that are far from perfect. These character face realistic challenges and experiences. They are far from perfect. I couldn’t have imagined reading a better written story dealing with these characters and chain of events.
I found myself being able to relate to certain parts of the story and relate to characters off and on throughout. It might have resurfaced some of my own memories that have been pushed to the back of my mind but even that didn’t knock my feeling of this book. It’s not a sugary sweet story. The characters have to fight for what they want, what they have, and what they believe in.
The details and descriptions allow for ease of reading and ease of being able to picture the scenes and really immerse yourself into the story. They make it easy to understand and picture some of the things going on in the story. They allow you in to visualize some of the hurt and pain the character’s experience.
There were times I just “knew” what was going to happen. It just had to happen like that. Then there would be a twist in the story that made me think otherwise. Then something else would happen that would change my mind. It was like this throughout the story. I don’t know about you but when writers do this it just grabs me even deeper into the story. If I could have I would have read this story in one sitting but sadly life didn’t allow me to do it but you can bet, I read it as fast as I could. I was sad to see it end but I would recommend the story to you without a second guess.
Profile Image for Sumedha the wordy habitat.
624 reviews34 followers
August 1, 2016
*Note: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It's a stand-alone, it's a brother's-best-friend-and-me story, it has all the things that you'll usually see in a book. You should know, this is not a very unique story.

By the way, I'm adding comments for most points because I feel like.

Jane Skylar Keaton has dated Cody for four years. She loves him. He loves her. HA.
When she moves in with him, his brother Keith and her brother Ryan into their house and starts college, she thinks the only dark spot will be Keith. Gurl you got that totally wrong.
Turns out Cody is not perfect (I refrained hard on calling him some things there), neither is her brother and Keith is so not but he is <3
So yeah, she falls for Keith.

Jane (Skylar for Keith) never cursed and has always been the good girl. She has worked for her parents' love, being the middle child and lacking attention. She hated Keith since he pushed her down when kids, and loved Cody since she met him. She's insecure, has low self-esteem etc. She wants to do art. I honestly didn't find anything special about her.
Keith has some "dark secret and past" which we don't know until the end. He has loved Sky since he met her. He appears confident but is very insecure. His best friend is Ryan, Sky's brother. He's an amazing artist. Again, the usual male lead.
I hated all the parents in this story. All.

After being shit to him for years, she finally gets to know him. She changes his ways and they fall in love. You know, the usual. I didn't find anything special to mention.

The cliched story. If you want the same thing again with different names and some different facts, go ahead and pick this up. I didn't like the ending, though. Kinda hated it.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,838 reviews294 followers
April 11, 2016
College for Jane Skylar was supposed to be a brand new experience , as she got to move out of home , study art and live with her boyfriend Along with her brother and her boyfriend's older brother Keith. That was the downside as for as long as Jane can remember her and Keith have never gotten along. Being at College though is about to go from a perception of easy to one of the most difficult times of her life as she starts to fail art classes and believes her Professor is out to get her , her boyfriend seems to be away studying all the time which leads to her discovery of his cheating and Jane experiences not only friendships, alcohol , other guys for the first time but she will open her eyes to family dynamics and the views of others around her. During her time at the house, Jane who Keith calls Sky become close as they have art in common and Jane gets to see a loving side of Keith, a side that others don't know exists. Can it be that the one known as the "bad boy" is actually the one that people have been misjudging all along ? Has Jane been dating the wrong brother and believing he was her soulmate and future ?

Painting Sky was a read that has emotional up and downs, romantic suspense and reminds readers that in order to see the world - we often have to open our eyes properly and look at the tiny details as we often miss all the clues and hints when we look at just the big picture. Remember the old saying "It's all in the details"
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